Common Medicare and Medicaid Enrollment Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Sarah Jones

Navigating Medicare and Medicaid can be overwhelming, and it’s not uncommon to feel lost in the sea of regulations and requirements. With so many potential pitfalls, it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge to avoid making costly mistakes.

From incurring penalties and gaps in coverage to denied claims and general confusion, there are several consequences to improper enrollment. The good news is that by staying informed and seeking assistance when necessary, you can successfully navigate the complex world of Medicare and Medicaid.

Read on to learn some of the most common enrollment errors — and how you can avoid them.

Download this free guide on demystifying the Medicare and Medicaid enrollment process.

Enrollment Errors

Lack of attention to detail can derail your application.

Getting started on the right foot with Medicare and Medicaid can be challenging. By carefully navigating the application process — and double-checking every detail — you can avoid application delays or even denial. Common mistakes include:

  • Failing to allow enough time to complete the entire application
  • Failing to follow-up on application status
  • Providing incomplete, incorrect, or missing information

Make sure you’re completing every step of the enrollment process carefully — and don’t forget to review the information you submit to ensure it’s accurate. Be proactive and follow-up with Medicare/Medicaid regularly to stay on top of your application. By taking the extra time during each step to ensure you’re meeting all requirements, you’ll avoid wasted time and hassle later.

Process and Regulation Errors

Failing to set up trustworthy personnel and policies puts you in default of the requirements set by Medicare/Medicaid.

Navigating the ins and outs of healthcare regulations can be tricky but failing to understand them can lead to serious roadblocks for your office. That’s why it’s essential to start by reviewing the Provider Handbooks from Medicare/Medicaid, which outline regulations and recommendations for remaining compliant under these payers. Keeping up-to-date with these handbooks and referring to them when necessary will help you avoid pitfalls and ensure a smooth journey.

It’s not enough to simply be aware of these regulations, though — you must also implement processes that support them. For example, proper billing and claims management is critical, as errors can be deemed fraudulent and result in hefty penalties. Stay on track by combining a thorough understanding of healthcare regulations with best practices for compliance.

Common errors in billing and claims include:

  • Failing to hire competent and qualified personnel to handle billing and claims
  • Failing to implement changes based on errors found in billing reviews
  • Failing to support claims with necessary documentation — or referencing incorrect documentation when creating claims
  • Coding claims incorrectly
  • Submitting claims for services or patients outside of Medicare/Medicaid coverage

As a provider under Medicare and Medicaid, understanding the regulations set forth by these payers is crucial to your success. In order to keep up with the ever-changing rules and guidelines, it’s imperative that you implement and update policies and processes that reflect these regulations. Even small gaps in your practices can lead to serious consequences down the line. So, make sure to stay on top of the latest updates and ensure that your policies and processes are up to date.

Record-Keeping Errors

When it comes to managing a medical facility or practice, one of the biggest areas for error is in record-keeping. Failing to keep patient charts, billing, and claims updated and well-organized can have a ripple effect of issues down the line. The consequences of falling behind or mixing up documents can lead to a domino effect of problems. For example, failing to update patient charts to reflect all care and treatments, as well as inaccurate billing and claims, can result in claims being denied.

Also, failing to maintain proper documentation can also lead to issues during reviews or audits. It’s crucial to stay on top of record-keeping to avoid these issues and ensure a smooth process for patients and staff.

Improper Conduct and Errors Within Audits

When it comes to working with Medicare/Medicaid, it’s important to stay on top of your records and documents. The single state agencies conducting audits is a regular practice, and it’s crucial that you’re willing and able to provide any and all requested information. Failure to do so could potentially result in termination of your contract(s) — but if you’ve kept up with your patient charts, billing, and claims documents, you’ll be able to confidently oblige when the agency asks to take a look.

Keeping accurate records will make the audit process smoother and faster, while any discrepancies will only lengthen it and may result in penalties. So stay on top of your paperwork and keep everything in order to make sure working with Medicare/Medicaid runs as smoothly as possible.

If you’re facing a Medicare/Medicaid audit, it’s understandable to feel uneasy. The process can be intimidating, and it’s not uncommon for healthcare providers to try to argue against the findings as the audit goes on. But it’s important to keep a level head and resist the urge to push back. Instead, approach the audit as an opportunity to learn and take notes so that you can fully understand what’s being found. Once the audit is over, you can make any necessary changes and prepare if you need to contest the results. Remember, the goal is to comply with regulations and provide the best care possible for your patients.

Maintain Your Status as a Compliant Medicare/Medicaid Provider

Navigating the complex world of Medicare and Medicaid can be overwhelming, but avoiding common mistakes is all about staying organized and paying attention to the details. By taking the time to establish reliable processes and training your staff properly, you can maintain compliance and continue providing exceptional care to your patients. Don’t let the paperwork and regulations get in the way of what you do best. Stay focused, stay informed, and keep up the great work.

Need help? Learn more about how best to handle Medicare and Medicaid enrollments in this on-demand webinar or reach out to a MedTrainer expert.